By: William Holmes
At Macau (HBO2): Zou Shiming vs. Eleazar Valenzuela, 4 rounds, junior flyweights; Roman “Rocky” Martinez vs. Diego Magdaleno, 12 rounds, for Martinez’s WBO junior lightweight title; Brian Viloria vs. Juan Francisco Estrada, 12 rounds, for Viloria’s WBA/WBO flyweight title;
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
In a sign of possible expanded boxing coverage, HBO2 will be broadcasting three fights from the Venetian Macao-Resort Hotel in the People’s Republic of China, including the professional debut of two time gold medalist Zou Shiming.
Shiming professional debut will serve as the main event of the night while two world title fights, Roman Martinez vs. Diego Magdaleno for the WBO Junior Lightweight title and Brian Viloria vs. Juan Francisco Estrada, for the WBA/WBO Flyweight title, will be considered “undercard” fights.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Brian Viloria (32-3) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (22-2); WBA/WBO Flyweight title
Brian Viloria is a Filipino-American boxer who holds a world title but does not have anywhere near the popularity of Manny Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire. Viloria is also a former junior flyweight champion and has the nickname of “The Hawaiian Punch”.
He had a successful amateur career and was a former national Golden Gloves champion. He’s also a former United States Olympian and he defeated both Glenn Donaire and Nonito Donaire as an amateur. He’s 32 years old, so he’s no longer in his athletic prime, but he hasn’t lost since 2010.
Viloria has lost to Omar Nino Romero, Edgar Sosa, and was stopped by Carlos Tamara. Since his loss to Tamara he’s been on a tear, and won the flyweight title over Julio Cesar Miranda in 2011, and has defeated the likes of Giovani Segura, avenged his loss to Omar Nino Romero, defeated Hernan Marquez.
He’s an exciting fighter that has spent most of his career fighting in the United States and the Philippines, but he’s been extremely inconsistent.
“I don’t see this as an easy fight. Estrada has the ability to be a champion. He’s very good. My edge over him in this fight will be my experience and the patience that comes from it.’ Said Viloria
His opponent, Juan Francisco Estrada, is only 22 years old and lost his only previous shot at a world title, to Roman Gonzalez for a light flyweight title. He’s the same height and has the same reach as Viloria, but he does have a better knockout ration. 18 of his 22 victories have ended in a stoppage.
His list of vanquished opponents however is unimpressive. He’s not as experienced and will be the naturally smaller man than Viloria. He’ll also be fighting in front of an unfriendly crowd.
Top Rank hopes to match Viloria with Shiming soon, and it’s highly unlikely that Viloria will ruin that chance by losing to Estrada.
Roman Martinez (26-1) vs. Diego Magdaleno (23-0); WBO Junior Lightweight title
If this card occurred in the United States, this fight would have likely been the main event.
This is a classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup. Magdaleno is young, only 26 years old, and he is the older brother of the undefeated super bantamweight Jesus Magdaleno. He’ll be slightly shorter than Martinez, but he will have a slight reach.
Magdaleno is a southpaw that is known for his technical prowess but not necessarily for his power. Only 9 of his 23 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He has stopped 3 of his last 5 opponents. He’s currently the NABF Super Featherweight champion and has faced decent competition never a top 10 ranked fighter. He’s defeated the likes of Fernando Beltran, Emmanuel Lucero, Carlos Oliveira, and Marcos Leonardo Jimenez.
He has a lot of promise, and Martinez will be a difficult test for him.
Roman Martinez is 30 years old and is the current WBO Super Featherweight Champion. He first won the title in 2009 against Nicky Cook in the United Kingdom and defended it three times before losing a close decision to Ricky Burns in 2010. He won it back against Miguel Beltran Jr. in 2012 and barely held on to it with a super close split decision against Juan Carlos Burgos in January of this year.
When you watch Martinez fight, there’s nothing about him that jumps out at you and makes you say he’s a premier talent, but he’s talented enough to hold onto a belt and defeat most of the opponents you put in front of him.
Martinez however showed some signs of decline in his last fight against Juan Carlos Burgos in a fight that was quite frankly lucky to win. Magdaleno has been heavily pushed by Top Rank on their undercards and Saturday night will be his time to capture a legitimate world title.
Zou Shiming (0-0) vs. Eleazar Valenzuela (2-1-2); Junior Flyweight
Shiming has received an incredible amount of press for a fighter who hasn’t even fought professionally, and for good reason.
He presents an opportunity for boxing to make headways into China, which has been virtually an untapped market for boxing. He’s a two time gold medalist in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. He was also China’s first ever Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist.
Shiming has teamed up with Freddie Roach in preparation for Saturday’ fight and he has Top Ranks publicity machine to back him up. He’s on the fast track for a world title shot and it will be shocking if he loses on Saturday.
Shiming has real talent. If you watch some of his fights you’ll see a fighter who has incredible footwork, a high work rate, and excellent defensive head movement.
Freddie Roach has had nothing but praise for Shiming. He stated at a recent press conference, “ Zou Shiming is going to be a world champion in a short time- possibly inside one year. And I think he can do it in fewer fights than Leon Spinks, another Olympic Gold Medalist. Spinks dethroned Muhammad Ali in his seventh professional fight. I think Zou can do it by his sixth professional fight if not sooner.”
Zou is aware of the importance this fight has in China. He stated, “I am so excited for Saturday night. As big a night it is for me it is even a bigger night for the sport of boxing and for boxing in China. My goal is to shine as bright a light on the sport in my country and to help advance its development here for amateurs and professionals alike.”
Not much is known about his opponent Eleazar Valenzuela. He has one TKO victory and one TKO defeat, and has only started boxing professionally in 2012.
All of the attention for Saturday’s main event has been in Zou Shiming, and for good reason. Valenzuela has no chance of winning on Saturday.